Afghanistan Foreign Policy

The War in Afghanistan is Over


On Sunday December 28th, the combat mission in Afghanistan formally ended.

“Our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement from Honolulu, where he is on vacation with his family.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization will switch its focus starting Jan. 1 to training and assisting Afghan forces, International Security Assistance Force Commander General John Campbell said [Sunday] after a flag-changing ceremony in Kabul.

Some people, mostly liberal bloggers, are splitting hairs over the fact that approximately 13,500 NATO troops, most of them American, will remain in the country to train and assist Afghan forces, but personally I’m not worked up about it. The 13,500 troops that will remain in the country is just a fraction of the peak of 140,000 serving in Afghanistan in 2010.

I’m not qualified to say whether or not withdrawing every last man from the country immediately would be a mistake, but I do feel as though we have bigger problems to worry about.

Regardless, the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan is significant in our recent history. For literally my entire adult life (I was 17-years old in 2001), we’ve had an ongoing war in Afghanistan that, as far as I can tell, was utterly aimless throughout most of its first decade under the supervision of the Bush administration. That is now over.